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Posted: Wednesday January 14, 2009 11:59AM; Updated: Friday January 16, 2009 10:04AM
Jon Wertheim Jon Wertheim >
TENNIS MAILBAG

Sharapova's shoulder, Davydenko's dilemna and more mail answers

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Was that our tennis Scott Draper who made the cut last week and was in the middle of the pack on the Aussie golf tour?
-- Jim, Rochester, N.Y.

• Indeed it was. Mark Wahlberg will be playing him in the film version.

During the Brisbane final, a fan yells what sounded like "Yea, come on Radek!" after a Verdasco double fault. The chair umpire Steve Ulrich responds, "In the court room, your enthusiasm is amazing, but please do not disturb when they make a mistake." Is this good officiating or fan smothering? Shall we also not cheer for our favorite player's easy winner when their opponent makes a mistake in shot selection, because it would be in bad taste?
-- Sean, Tallahassee, Fla.

• Can't say I really get the joke. Is that an accurate translation? Was Judge Judy the heckler? I agree that the chair umpires can have a smothering effect. But chiding the crowd for applauding a double fault sounds reasonable to me.

You could re-name the Greatest Match ever played as the "Match of All Time" and then pair it with the Greatest of All Time (the GOAT and the MOAT). Or to continue with zoological acronyms, name it the Seemingly Highest Exhibition Ever Played (SHEEP and the GOAT).
-- Greg Smiley, Washington, D.C.

• To quote Borat: niiiiice. (Aside: Is there any doubt Guy Ritchie is kicking Sasha Baron Cohen's ass next time they meet up?

I'm so over the Tsonga/Ali comparisons. It's just intolerable.
-- Phil, Sydney

• Agree. I think this one tops my "Dead Horse List," narrowly edging out:

- Ana Ivanovic once had to practice tennis in a drained swimming pool!

- Federer and Tiger Woods send each other friendly texts!

- Lleyton Hewitt is inspired by Rocky!

- Novak Djokovic does wacky impersonations of his colleagues!

- Roddick is a practicing pagan who drinks the blood of newborn babies.

Kidding on the last one. But here's a point for the television networks: Anyone watching, say, the early rounds of the French Open in the middle of the day is no casual fan. No reason to hit them with the same "Intro to Tennis" anecdotes. They know that Sharapova came to the U.S. at a young age, accompanied only by her father. They know that Mardy Fish has a sibling-like relationship with Roddick. A little credit, please.

It's been awhile since we've had a Majoli-Johansson-Myskina-esque Grand Slam winner. Who from the men's and women's side will catch fire for two weeks and walk away as a surprise Grand Slam winner? I'll go first. Ernests Gulbis and Caroline Wozniacki. This is so much like a lottery, it should be a contest. If someone gets BOTH right, you provide some courtside seats to the U.S. Open 2010.
-- Paul Stovall, Brooklyn

• I'm not sure Gulbis and Wozniacki are sanity-questioning picks. But not bad choices and not a bad contest. Pick the player outside the top 10 who will win a Slam in 2009. I'll take Marin (County real estate is astronomically high) Cilic and Viktoria Azarenka. Send me your picks and keep a copy of the dates e-mailed for proof. As for the prize, in these austere times, courtside seats to the U.S. Open is a big ask. But I'll finagle grounds passes to the first person to get one right.

Hydro equivalent of a landslide: Tsunami.
-- Williams, Rosario

• Yes, of course. Michael Phelps won the Sportsman of the Year voting in a tsunami.

Shots, Miscellany:

• It's the International Herald Tribune, Global Sports Forum, tennis style.

• Nice to see Serena Williams entering the Family Circle Cup.

• The USTA announced that tickets for the 2009 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas first round tie between the United States and Switzerland at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Arena in Birmingham, Ala., March 6-8, will go on sale starting Friday at 12 p.m. CST. Tickets are sold as a three-day series with prices ranging from $60 to $500. Tickets can be purchased by calling (888) 484-8782 (USTA) or online by visiting USTA.com or ticketmaster.com.

• In case you missed it, here's a fine piece by our friend Eben Harrell.

Jon Young of Kaneohe, Haw. was among the many of you sending on this Alexandra Stevenson update.

(We can discuss it later, but does anyone else feel for Turquoise Irving? If I'm her, I read this piece and say, "Wait a second: the reporter violates a cardinal rule of journalism and sleeps with the subject. My husband cheats on me and fathers a baby with another woman. And somehow I'm the villain here?)

Matthew of Pretoria, South Africa: From Wikipedia regarding the term Pentarchy: "In the History of Christianity, the Pentarchy is 'the proposed government of universal Christendom by five patriarchal sees under the auspices of a single universal empire.'"

Alex Ketaineck, Madison, N.J.: Good thing for Nadal that this wasn't a black cat.

• The developer of the new Red Ledges recreational community in Heber City, Utah, and former CEO of Ryder Inc., M. Anthony (Tony) Burns, will be in New York City from Jan. 20-22 for the purpose of announcing the future home of Cliff Drysdale's first west coast, high altitude tennis academy at Red Ledges.

Andy S. of Winston Salem, N.C., has a Lookalike submission:

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Steffi Graf!

Have a good week, everyone!

Sports Illustrated senior writer Jon Wertheim is the author of the new book, "Blood in the Cage,"which chronicles the rise of the UFC.

 
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